The Coral Tree Nursery is an innovative new technique for growing corals at sea which takes some inspiration from techniques for culturing corals that were pioneered in home aquariums. Now the whole Coral-Tree part is totally of Coral Restoration Foundation’s doing, but the practice of suspending corals from strings now as ‘Coral Candy’ was introduced to the aquarium hobby over ten years ago by reef aquarists who found themselves running out of space on their live rock and sand bed.
The best part of growing coral candy on strings is that not only does it save space, but it produces more coral and faster growing coral than any other kind of mounting technique that we know of, and CRF has been turned on to the idea as well. Although in the home aquarium growing corals in suspension was primarily to save space, CRF discovered that corals grown in this tree-like formation tend to eb much less disturbed by large clumsy fish like nurse sharks which tended to knock corals off of their mounts on the sea bed.
The average coral reefer may not be that intrigued by Caribbean staghorn coral because it is not colorful but less us tell you, Acropora cervicornis is extremely unique, and it is an American coral that we should be proud of.
Unlike more colorful Pacific Acropora counterparts, Caribbean staghorn coral may not show any hints of color but in great condition it is a beautiful and lovely golden yellow color, and it has a very attractive raspy surface which is covered in radial corallites which are white-tipped closer to the branch tip.
Macna 2011 attendees had the good fortune to be able to see the fruits of CRF’s labor at the Boyd Enterprises booth where several of these coral-tree-farmed staghorn coral were displayed, both in a mounted and suspended orientation. The technique of growing corals in this Coral Tree Formation owes a lot to pioneering coral farmers in the US and America and it is an awesome example of how the hobby is helping out our mother-reefs in a way that goes well beyond simply fragging and mounting corals.
We are very proud to see achievements of our hobby being employed by the Coral Restoration Foundation and we one day hope to dive some Florida reefs which have been restored by mostly corals from the CRF. If you would like to help, you could always adopt staghorn corals at the CRF at a variety of sponsorship levels and if you’re really baller, you could sponsor a whole forest of staghorn corals like Ecoxotic did earlier this year.